Accumulation, elimination and neuro-oxidative damage under lanthanum exposure in glass eels (Anguilla anguilla)

Cátia Figueiredo, Tiago F. Grilo, Clara Lopes, Pedro Brito, Mário Diniz, Miguel Caetano, Rui Rosa, Joana Raimundo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Rare earth elements (REEs) comprise elements from lanthanum to lutetium that together with yttrium and scandium are emergent contaminants of critical importance for numerous groundbreaking environmental technologies. Transfer to aquatic ecosystems is expected to increase, however, little information is known about their potential impacts in marine biota. Considering the endangered conservation status of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the vulnerability of early fish life stages to contaminants, we exposed glass eels, through water, to an environmentally relevant concentration (120 ng.L 1) of lanthanum (La) for 7 days (plus 7 days of depuration). The aim was to study the accumulation and elimination of La in eel's body and subsequent quantification of acetylcholinesterase (AchE), lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymatic machinery. Accumulation peaked after 72 h-exposure to La, decreasing afterwards, even in continuous exposure. Accumulation was higher in the viscera, followed by the skinless body and ultimately in the head, possibly as a protective mechanism to cope with La neurotoxicity. A significant increase in AChE activity was observed in La-exposed glass eels, suggesting that La3+ may inhibit the binding of acetylcholine. A depression in lipid peroxidation was registered under La exposure, possibly indicating that La3+ may play physiological activities and functions as a free radical scavenger. Catalase activity was significantly inhibited in La-exposed glass eels after 72 h, indicating that the availability of La may induce physiological impairment. The quantification of Glutathione S-Transferase activity revealed no differences between control and La-exposed organisms. Further investigation is needed towards understanding the biological effects of REEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-423
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Bioaccumulation
  • Glass eels
  • Lanthanum
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Rare earth elements


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